Optimizing Backhaul Cost and Performance with Space-Saving Indoor Unit

AVIAT NETWORKS IDU GE3

AVIAT NETWORKS' IDU GE3

Operators concerned with backhaul capacity and cost now have a solution. Today, we announced the Eclipse IDU GE3, an ultra-compact indoor unit (IDU) that combines the very latest Carrier Ethernet networking and advanced radio features for hybrid TDM/Ethernet or all-Ethernet/IP.

Wireless transmission. Supporting link throughputs up to 400 Mbps, the IDU GE3 will provide more than enough backhaul capacity for the overlay of new 4G/LTE base stations, and offers significant advantages over costly fiber deployments or leased lines.

This new embedded switch provides the most advanced Carrier Ethernet features available in a microwave platform—for hybrid or all-packet microwave transport. Available in a space-saving one-half rack unit (RU) package.

IDU GE3 offers features that include:

  • Full 256QAM Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) support—enabling up to a fourfold increase in spectral efficiency over non-ACM systems;
  • High port density with six Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) and 16 native TDM (E1/T1) ports;
  • The latest Carrier Ethernet features, such as VLANs, advanced Quality of Service (QoS) traffic priority assignment and Ethernet OAM (Operations, Administration and Management); and
  • Packet synchronization options—SyncE, IEEE 1588v2 and Eclipse Distributed Sync (EDS)

The new IDU GE3 is fully compatible with the Eclipse Packet Node nodal indoor units and the complete line of Eclipse indoor and outdoor RF units, enabling operators to immediately deploy this new unit into existing Eclipse-based transmission networks with minimal cost and operational impact.

The Eclipse IDU GE3 will debut at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb 14-17, 2011. Come by and take a look!

World’s First Nodal Outdoor Radio

First Nodal Outdoor Radio

Aviat Networks' WTM3000

Yes its true, you can have it all. Today we announced our WTM3000 outdoor network radio for wireless transmission that combines full IP/Ethernet aggregation and switching, along with the very latest in advanced radio transmission features to maximize frequency efficiency and throughput.

Unlike other “all-outdoor” packet radios that require an indoor unit or a separate switch/router to provide important networking features and advanced radio functionality, such as Adaptive Modulation, the WTM 3000 includes all advanced radio, modem and Ethernet networking functions in a compact, environmentally hardened unit.

WTM 3000 represents a breakthrough in converged networking and transmission solutions. Incorporating the latest in carrier-class Ethernet switch technology and three Gigabit Ethernet ports, it supports nodal functions with aggregation, Carrier Ethernet Quality of Service (QoS) controls, Ethernet Operations, Administration and Maintenance (OAM) and IP/MPLS awareness. The WTM 3000 also provides superior radio transmission features, such as 256QAM Adaptive Coding and Modulation, excellent RF system gain performance, and support for link capacity-doubling, through co-channel operation with XPIC.

This solution can operate as a standalone device for Carrier Ethernet/IP transmission wireless connections or extend the Aviat Packet Node platform for all-IP and zero-footprint applications.

The WTM 3000 will debut at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 14-17, 2011. Come by and take a look!

Taking a Realistic Look at 4G Backhaul Needs

Let’s get past the hype.

We can get a good idea of what capacities 4G networks will need for backhaul we should look at what the technology is actually able to support.

The backhaul requirements for a single cell are fixed by a number of factors, regardless of how many users there are in that cell. Network congestion and frequency interference will limit the throughput achievable to rates well below the advertised peak rates.

For a typical three sector macro cell operating in the maximum 20MHz channel bandwidth, the total backhaul capacity needed is actually below 200 Mbit/s, even with the future introduction of LTE Advanced (Release 10).

For the current Release 8 of LTE now being deployed, and with smaller operating channels of 5 or 10 MHz, the actual backhaul capacity needs will be more often in the 10’s of Mbit/s, not the 100’s!

So if this is the case, why do you need fiber?? It’s pretty clear that the presumption that only fiber is suitable for 4G backhaul doesn’t make much sense! As shown by Figure 1, modern microwave transmission systems more than meet the capacity needs of 4G/LTE, with lots of room to spare.

Taking a Realistic Look at 4G Backhaul Needs

Microwave supports more than enough backhaul capacity for 4G/LTE

Innovative new microwave technologies have been introduced to the market in the past few years that dramatically increase the throughput capacity, while the move to packet-based transport has also enabled a new range of Ethernet/IP-aware products that are able to intelligently utilize the available microwave backhaul spectrum better than ever before, with throughputs of 1 Gbit/s achievable with fiber-like reliability.

Apart from that, the average cost of microwave has continued to decrease over the years. The result is that microwave $/MBit is a fraction of what it was just 5 years ago.

Why Pay for Capacity That You Don’t Need?

Driven by this continued uncertainty, many operators could waste huge amounts of money by deploying fiber to cell-sites that can be served much more economically with proven microwave solutions.

So far from fiber being the only answer for operators deploying HSPA+ & LTE, microwave transport can and will meet the capacity needs for mobile backhaul for many years to come.

Stuart Little

Director of Marketing, Aviat Networks

The LTE Hype Cycle is in Full Swing

Now’s not the time for operators to be quiet and conservative. In the US, the leading network operators are all engaged in a vigorous battle to prove who can deliver the fastest data downloads, with the best coverage. Any pretense over complying with the ITU’s original definition of 4G have now been dropped in the marketing campaigns from each company, with now LTE, WiMAX 802.16e and even HSPA+ now being aggressively promoted as 4G (more about this in a future post). Nowhere else in the world are three mobile technologies slugging it out for dominance.

These efforts have been reinforced by discussions (and even demonstrations) of LTE download speeds of 50, 80, 100 Mbit/s and more. A slew of new LTE-capable devices were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month. Eleven new LTE networks have been launched, with 147 operators committed to LTE at the end of 2010. There’s little wonder that predictions of cell-site backhaul capacity of many 100’s of megabits and even gigabits are not uncommon.

Fiber Solves Everything?

With the focus on download speeds, the market appears to have forgotten the past issues associated with backhaul. Or perhaps, the assumption is that they have all been solved. Operator difficulties associated with the introduction of the iPhone in 2009 appear to be well behind us, but the reality is that backhaul remains one of the biggest headaches.

Operators have largely fended off further scrutiny of potential backhaul problems by talking up how they are rapidly deploying fiber throughout their networks, or deploying 100’s of thousands of new leased lines. This has led some commentators to declare that only fiber can support the backhaul needs of LTE. Fiber to every cell-site means no more capacity issues. Problem solved!

Unfortunately the reality is not so tidy. Capacity is just one of the issues that face operators when preparing their backhaul networks for 4G. Since backhaul can represent up to 50% of a network operators costs, any poor decisions made there can seriously affect the bottom line.

Instead, backhaul is a multi dimensional puzzle, balancing network capacity, cost, complexity and coverage. Next post I will explore the real backhaul needs of 4G, based upon a bottom’s up technology assessment, that paints a very different story.

Stuart Little

Director of Marketing, Aviat Networks

Time for a Backhaul Reality Check

The introduction of new high-speed 4G mobile technologies is gathering pace, but there are indications that many operators still do not have a clear understanding of what impact this will have on their backhaul networks. With the forecasted demise of copper-based backhaul in U.S. networks, operators are faced with the critical decision between deploying either fiber or microwave to the cell-site.

The problem lies in the uncertainty surrounding what the true future capacity needs for 4G/LTE will be. Misreading this requirement could ultimately lead to over-building backhaul capacity, resulting in the waste of enormous amounts of network investments; money that instead could be put into more substantive ways of increasing network capacity, such as investing in new spectrum.

Driven by this uncertainty, operators risk making commitments that lock in the high lifecycle costs of building or leasing fiber – costs that far exceed that of a typical microwave connection. In reality, deploying fiber to the cellsite due to concerns about running out of backhaul capacity is a significant overkill. Based upon the 4G technologies and deployment scenarios, it is possible to predict what the maximum backhaul needs for 4G sites will be, meaning that in many cases operators can avoid a budget burden that they must live with for years to come.

So when it comes to backhaul need for 4G what is needed is a “dose of reality,” that then enables optimal backhaul network planning that balances realistic capacity expectations with total cost.

Check back for the second part of this post next week, when I take a look at some of the things that are driving this uncertainty.

Stuart Little

Director of Marketing, Aviat Networks

Welcome to the Wireless Transmission Blog

Here at Aviat Networks we are focused on everything that is wireless transmission. With so much happening in the wireless industry, we wanted to join in the conversation and share our experiences and insights on the trends, technology, and business.

If you are reading this inaugural blog post it is likely we have a lot in common. While the main purpose of this blog is to talk about wireless transmission, we will also cover topics such as network evolution, software usability, services, and more.

Our initial blog posts will cover topics leading up to Mobile World Congress 2011. Over the course of the next three weeks, we will offer timely coverage and video excerpts from the show to keep you up-to-speed on the latest and greatest.

We encourage you to be part of the conversation since just hearing from us would be like having a conversation with ourselves. New viewpoints and constructive feedback are always welcome and we looking forward to hearing from you!

The Aviat Networks Team